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The Difference Between Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety2-300x200So many people are confused between the difference between anxiety and depression. This is not surprising because my experience has been that many family doctors (GPs) are also confused as well, particularly if they have recently qualified.

In an average seven to 10-minute consultation GP do not have the time to make the observations or ask the right questions to determine the difference between anxiety and depression.

I see endless people who come into my consulting room having been given antidepressant drugs by doctors after they had seen the doctor for anxiety after a five-minute interview.

Firstly these antidepressant drugs often do not work because the doctor is trying to treat the symptoms of nervousness, not the cause of the nervousness.

Secondly they are treating people for depression not anxiety.

Anxiety is an over-excited nervous system that is stuck in the alarm state.

Coincidently as I was writing this the electricity went off in my apartment and the fuse went. When the electricity came back on the washing machine, which is run by a computer chip, refused to open the door and give me back my laundry. It had a gremlin, a computer glitch that caused the machine to get stuck on a program and was unable to move onto the end of the program.

This is exactly what happens with anxiety in that you get stuck in the excited state that moves you from one part of your actions and life to another. Anxiety is a brain computer glitch when you are stuck in the excited, alarm state and you have not completed your program to return you to the normal, calm resting state.

Depression is quite different. Depression is when the nervous system is not excited enough. There is a failure to excite the nervous system so you feel glum, your head is held down, and you feel lethargic, as if you cannot be bothered to do anything.

Firstly the confusion between anxiety and depression occurs because both can  have feelings of hopelessness, despondency and where nothing will ever goes right, dread, fear and a sense of foreboding.

Secondly it is confusing because some people can bounce between the two. Depressed people tend to sleep too much and anxious people have trouble settling and sleeping.

To some extent we all bounce between anxiety and depression as part of our natural physical, psychological, cognitive and emotional functioning and then we quickly return to our normal resting state.

Those who have lost control of their ability to get back to the normal resting state need to retrain the brain to get back to that space.

Treating anxiety or depression should never be about just taking medication. Part of the treatment needs to be around changing the way a person thinks. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, anxiety and depression are about ‘wrong thinking’.

As a naturopath there are herbs I would use to help with both anxiety and depression and as a hypnotherapist I also help people to change the way the are using their minds and their outlooks on life to be a ‘right thinker’ including my Anxiety Solutions Hypnosis downloadable program.

Right thinkers know how to get back to right feeling.


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